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New Pluto images puzzle scientists

Fri, Jul 03, 2015, 10:59 AM
Washington, July 3: NASA's New Horizon spacecraft has captured stunning coloured images of Pluto as it gets ready for a close flyby of the mysterious planet system on July 14.

The images show two very different faces of the mysterious dwarf planet, one with a series of intriguing spots along the equator that are evenly-spaced.

Each of the spots is about 480 km in diameter, with a surface area that is roughly the size of the state of Missouri, the US space agency said in a statement.

Scientists have yet to see anything quite like the dark spots.

"It's a real puzzle -- we don't know what the spots are and we cannot wait to find out," said New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern.

Also puzzling is the long-standing and dramatic difference in the colours and appearance of Pluto compared to its darker and greyer moon Charon.

While the origin of the spots is a mystery for now, the answer may be revealed as the spacecraft continues its approach to the mysterious planet system.

If Pluto has clouds, New Horizon can detect them.
Agency: IANS

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